Echt’s comeback in vain as Thistle progress

Echt welcomed Cove Thistle for this AFC Trophy fourth round tie and they served up a seven goal thriller.

A good defensive interception by Grant Milne denied Cove’s Duthie an early goalscoring opportunity, whilst at the other end an Alan Douglas header on a Kieran Graham free kick went wide.

The visitors made an early breakthrough in 6 minutes when Duthie slammed home after Lewis Milne could only push out a shot as far as the six yard line.

A collision involving Echt’s Paul Presslie and Cove’s Edward Esson saw both players requiring a lengthy spell of treatment before play could be restarted.

In 16 minutes a Jamie Wood strike from the left, across the face of the Cove goal had keeper McKenzie diving to push wide of far post, and from the resultant Darren MacLeod flag kick it was Cove’s turn to live dangerously but neither Douglas nor Presslie managed to apply the finishing touch.

Veteran striker Presslie had to be withdrawn and Stuart Bennett came on.

A bigger blow still in 23 minutes when G Milne was adjudged to have used an arm in trying to get control of a bouncing ball in his own box, and defender Gabriel made it 0-2 from the spot.

Echt’s woes continued when central defender G Milne was also forced out of the action with a knee injury and was replaced by Martin McGillivray.

As Echt strived to cut the two goal deficit prior to the break McDonald fired wide from a good position inside the box and within a minute Echt carelessly surrendered possession in midfield and an exchange of passes through the heart of the Echt rearguard left Wilson to fire home number three, and the home side with a mountain to climb.

With the amount of injury stoppage time first half, Echt took advantage of the added minutes to open their goalscoring account when Ian Leith wriggled his way across the edge of the Cove box and from his lay off MacLeod rifled high into McKenzie’s net and offer a glimmer of hope.

Echt made a great start to the second half and had Cove pinned back defending, and when a Jamie Wood right side flag kick was only cleared as far as Andy Davidson his low drive somehow ended in the far corner of the net through a sea of legs for 2-3 with 51 minutes on the clock.

Graham levelled the tie three minutes later with the goal of the game ,a stunning 25 yd strike that simply flew between McKenzie and his left hand post at head height.

Cove slowly regained their composure and in 74 minutes Duthie struck to put the visitors in front once more.

The nearest Echt came to forcing the tie into extra time was when MacLeod was felled on the 18yd line as he raced into the box, a central free kick which Douglas dragged wide of McKenzie’s right hand post.

Overall a result that the visitors probably deserved with an attacking frontline that Echt struggled to contain throughout. 

Echt: L Milne, Graham, Leith, G Milne, Cooper, Douglas, MacLeod, A Davidson, Presslie, McDonald, Wood. Subs: S Bennett, McGillivray, Lawrence, P Bennett, E Robertson.